WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 2007 nominating committee has unanimously recommended Charles M. Vest, president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to stand as the sole candidate to be the next president of the NAE. Voting by the NAE membership will take place in March 2007 for a six-year term to begin on July 1.
If elected, Vest will succeed Wm. A. Wulf, whose second term as NAE president will end on June 30, 2007. Wulf is ineligible to run for a third term under the NAE bylaws, and he will return to his previous position as a Chaired University Professor at the University of Virginia.
"I could not be more pleased that Chuck Vest has accepted the nomination for the NAE presidency," said NAE Chair Craig Barrett, who is also chairman of the board of Intel Corp. "Chuck's broad experience and leadership at the national level will benefit the NAE greatly and allow it to continue the distinguished service to the nation that has been a hallmark of Bill Wulf's presidency."
The National Academy of Engineering is part of the National Academies, which also include the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. These independent, nonprofit institutions serve as advisers to government and the public on issues related to science, engineering, and medicine. NAE's membership consists of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for their distinguished achievements. Established in 1964, the NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. The NAE president is a full-time employee of the organization at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and also serves as the vice chair of the National Research Council, the principal research arm of the National Academies.
Vest, age 65, served as MIT's president from 1990 through 2004. During that time, he worked to strengthen federal-university-industry relations and undertook a number of initiatives to bring education and research issues to broader public attention. Vest placed special emphasis on enhancing science and engineering in undergraduate education. While stressing the importance of racial and cultural diversity among faculty and students at MIT, Vest also worked to build a stronger international dimension to the university's programs.
Selected as a member of the bipartisan Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, which completed its report in 2005, Vest brought a strong science and engineering background to the analysis. He led a U.S. Department of Energy task force on the future of science programs in 2002-2003 and chaired a presidential advisory commission on the redesign of the International Space Station in 1992-1994. Vest was vice chair of the Council on Competitiveness for eight years, is a former chair of the Association of American Universities, and serves on the U.S. Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
Vest was elected to the NAE in 1993 "for technical and educational contributions to holographic interferometry and leadership as an educator," and he currently serves on the NAE Council. Among Vest's career honors is the NAE's Arthur M. Bueche Award in 2000 "for his outstanding university leadership, commitment, and effectiveness in helping mold government policy in support of research, and forging linkages between academia and industry." Vest has served on numerous National Academies studies, most recently on the highly cited RISING ABOVE THE GATHERING STORM: ENERGIZING AND EMPLOYING AMERICA FOR A BRIGHTER ECONOMIC FUTURE, which highlights the roles of science and engineering in U.S. economic growth and competitiveness.
Vest earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1963. He received both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1964 and 1967, respectively, where he later held the positions of dean of engineering, provost, and vice president for academic affairs. He is the recipient of 10 honorary doctoral degrees.
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The members of the NAE nominating committee represent each of the 12 sections of the Academy and are elected by the members of each section. The three largest sections place two members on the committee, resulting in an elected membership of 15. The chair of the nominating committee is selected from among these 15 members by the NAE Council, the governing body of the NAE. One member of the Council serves as its representative on the nominating committee, and the NAE president, vice president, and home secretary serve ex officio. No member may be elected to serve on the nominating committee more than once in six years. The members of the committee were as follows:
James Duderstadt (chair), University of Michigan
Kenneth Rosen, General Aero-Science Consultants
George Springer, Stanford University
Georges Belfort, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Corale Brierley, Brierley Consultancy
Lawrence Evans, Aspen Technology
Alastair Glass, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Toronto
Paul Gray, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
William Howard, Independent Consultant
Eugene Meieran, Intel Corp.
Richard Meserve, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Celestino Pennoni, Pennoni Associates
John Slaughter, NACME, Council Representative
Robert Sproull, Sun Microsystems Inc.
Richard Tucker, University of Texas
Ward Winer, Georgia Institute of Technology
Ex Officio members
Wm. A. Wulf, NAE President
Maxine Savitz, NAE Vice President
W. Dale Compton, NAE Home Secretary
According to the bylaws of the NAE, a candidate may be added to the ballot for any position by petition. Such petition must be signed by 5 percent of the active members of the Academy, representing at least 10 different institutions, and it must be submitted by Jan. 15.
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